The Constitution of the United States recognizes the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. As a foundational principle of our country, the Second Amendment enshrines this right in clear, unequivocal language: “The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The United States Supreme Court reaffirmed this basic right guaranteed by the Constitution in its June 26, 2008 decision in the case styled District of Columbia v. Heller. There the Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Whether one uses a firearm for hunting, sport shooting, personal protection, or another lawful reason, the Second Amendment clearly protects our individual right to keep and bear arms.
As a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America, I am working daily to ensure this right is safeguarded from activist judges and far-reaching legislation from liberals in Congress.
During my first year as a Congressman, I successfully worked my colleagues to enact legislation strengthening Second Amendment protections. In 2009, I introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. HR 3789, the “Amtrak Secure Transportation of Firearms Act.” My legislation allows sportsmen to check firearms in the locked baggage compartment of Amtrak trains, just as they are allowed to on our nation’s airlines.
I have also been vigilant to join a number of my colleagues in opposing several anti-second amendment measures, such as legislation that would expand firearms restrictions into millions of additional acres of public land, and a judicial ruling that would extend the unconstitutional gun ban in our national parks. Working with my colleagues on the House Committee on Natural Resources, I was proud to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 1684, legislation that fully restores Americans’ Second Amendment rights on public lands and wildlife refuges. This important legislation passed both the House and Senate and was signed by the President on May 22, 2009.
Another piece of contentious legislation that I oppose is H.R. 45, “Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act.” This bill would mandate a licensing process for anybody that owns a gun. The process would include submitting photographs and a thumbprint, passing a gun safety test, paying a fee, and completing any other requirements determined to be appropriate by the Attorney General. I firmly believe that H.R. 45 is unconstitutional, and will continue to speak out against this legislation and vote against any effort to enact it into law.
I believe gun control policies fail to recognize that criminals, not guns, are the root cause of gun crime in America. Criminals, by definition, violate laws. Gun control restrictions punish honest, law-abiding citizens who want to protect themselves and their families. I assure you that I will continue working to support the rights of gun owners who use firearms responsibly while working to punish those who break the law.
I’ve also authored and co-authored many other common-sense pro-gun measures including:
• H.R. 17, the “Citizens' Self-Defense Act”: This bill would reaffirm the right to use firearms for self-defense and for defense of one’s home and family.
• H.R. 197, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act”: This bill would allow nationwide reciprocity for concealed carry permits, much like driver’s licenses are respected and honored in all states.
• H.R. 1074, the “Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act”: This bill would allow for the interstate sale of firearms and remove several antiquated and unnecessary restrictions imposed on interstate firearms transactions.
• Amicus Curiae Brief in McDonald vs. City of Chicago Supreme Court Case: Along with several Members of the House and Senate, filed a “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the Second Amendment applies to all citizens, regardless of State or Local laws prohibiting firearm ownership. This case parallels the landmark District of Columbia vs. Heller decision, in which the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
These measures are an essential part of the effort to reclaim our Second Amendment rights which have been eroded over the years by activist judges and liberal lawmakers. Rest assured I will never compromise in the fight to protect your Constitutional rights to firearm ownership and self-defense.